The Space Agriculture

To make a sustainable space base, humans are needed to build a sustainable agricultural system in the outer space. And to make this real, some studies and practices are taking place. The practices by the Lunar Farming Concept Studying Working Group from Japan are exactly the one of those.

Its report of 2019 shows us that some agricultural plants are selected for space farming; rice plants, soy beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, lettuces and the others (mustard spinaches, for example).

Compared to the earthy agriculture, there are less atmospheric pressure, less gravity, but more direct rays. Therefore, we are facing some important issues to overcome. And the study of Professor Goto, the chairman of the Working Group above, is suggesting that, under certain conditions, some of the agricultural plants are survival and growable even in less atmospheric pressure.

The fields for lunar farming are to be set under a dome, so that they can go with perfect controlled pressure, air distribution and cycle. And, at the same time, biological pollutions are avoidable.

Still there are many challenges left. For example, the germination rates don’t reach to the high level under the conditions of low gravity. The causes are not yet determined. Further research and practice are expected.

References below;
進む“宇宙農業” | NHK | WEB特集 | 宇宙
月面農場ワーキンググループ検討報告書 (
Ishigami, Y., Goto, E. ; Plant Growth under Hypobaric Conditions, (J.SHITA )20(4):228-235. 2008.
Lunar Farming Concept Study Group.; Report of Lunar Farming Concept Group Study Working Group 1st, ISSN-233-2232 (Online) JAXA-SP-19-001
Hahimoto, H.; Plant Cultivation under Low Pressure and Space Agriculture, Space Utiliz Res, 22 (2006)

Yuri Fukushima from JSLA

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